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Dying veteran who faced $61,000 in hospital bills now sees them covered

CougarKing

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Some good news for once...

Sun News

Dying veteran's hospital bills covered
7:35 am, February 8th, 2015

OTTAWA -- Jim Holt can finally breathe a sigh of relief.

The 79-year-old former Canadian fighter pilot with Stage 4 cancer and just under two months to live was facing $61,000 in medical fees.

But on Friday a hospital official told Holt's daughter, Caroline Holt-Smith, they've covered all his costs.

"I am pleased to confirm that the Ottawa Hospital will work with the insurance provider on the payment of invoices, ensuring that your father and family will not be responsible for any debt to the Ottawa Hospital as a result of his recent care," Nathalie Cadieux, Ottawa Hospital's interim executive vice-president of finance and business development, said in an e-mail.

"Thanks to you people, someone finally came to their senses," Holt told QMI Agency Saturday.

"It worked out quite well."

(...SNIPPED)
 

dapaterson

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So, someone chooses to leave Canada to live for years, returns, doesn't meet residency requirements for health care coverage immediately, and then gets a free pass.

If he was non-white or not a veteran, I imagine many people would put a very different spin on this.
 

observor 69

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Some more background info:

Dying Canadian fighter pilot stuck with $61,000 medical bill waiting for OHIP coverage

http://news.nationalpost.com/2015/02/05/dying-canadian-fighter-pilot-stuck-with-61000-medical-bill-waiting-for-ohip-coverage/
 

Blackadder1916

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If the story was simply that OHIP flinched and was now giving special treatment because it was a veteran then I would also be in the negative group, but then I read both of the linked news pieces.  Maybe I missed something, but nowhere does it say that provincial health coverage will pay the bills, only that the hospital will work with his "insurance provider", which is likely the PSHCP.  Now I've shifted to the "yea" column.  However, knowing that there are gaps in out of country coverage, I would have assumed that he had some other additional coverage to meet those shortfalls.
 

a78jumper

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dapaterson said:
So, someone chooses to leave Canada to live for years, returns, doesn't meet residency requirements for health care coverage immediately, and then gets a free pass.

If he was non-white or not a veteran, I imagine many people would put a very different spin on this.

How many thousands of dollars do you supposed he paid out in income taxes on his Canadian pensions while living out of the country? The lion's share of those pay for health care.
 

dapaterson

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a78jumper said:
How many thousands of dollars do you supposed he paid out in income taxes on his Canadian pensions while living out of the country? The lion's share of those pay for health care.

So someone not living in Canada by choice should still have unlimited free health care in Canada?  That's a massive entitlement you've just created.  Any idea of how to fund it?

 

ModlrMike

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a78jumper said:
How many thousands of dollars do you supposed he paid out in income taxes on his Canadian pensions while living out of the country? The lion's share of those pay for health care.

1. Both the Argentina/Canada and Italy/Canada tax treaties levy a 15% tax on pensions paid to the originating state; much less than resident Canadians pay.

2. Health care is a provincial domain.

Tax Treaties
 

Gunner98

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My take on this is that the method of payment and/or entitlement should have been established before any care began.  The fact that "The doctors who treated him in Canada have waived their fees and the Bruyère says it won’t begin charging for his care until his OHIP coverage kicks in on Feb. 6. The $61,000 bill he’s amassed so far includes the cost of tests, treatment and his semi-private room at The Ottawa Hospital, where he was admitted as an in-patient in December" means that someone signed the hospital forms at the time of admission stating that his expenses would be covered.

It needs to recognized that $61,000 is not a lot of money for the treatments that a cancer patient would require.

Doctors waving their fees - he should consider himself very lucky or the dollar value would skyrocket.

The statement that pisses me off is:  “For the want of a few months they’re taking life savings from people,” he said.  So for the want of a few months all new arrivals in Ontario or Canada are denied access to care. He and his family knew there was no entitlement before he went for evaluation.

Perhaps he would have lived a shorter, but higher quality of life if he had trusted the Argentine health care system.  Being paralyzed from radiation treatment and knowing that he will die in a hospital or hospice has robbed him of months with his wife.

I think this is a weak, good news story on a slow news day.

 

a78jumper

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dapaterson said:
So someone not living in Canada by choice should still have unlimited free health care in Canada?  That's a massive entitlement you've just created.  Any idea of how to fund it?

Canadian Income taxes are paid by Canadians living out of country. You certainly deserve coverage if you have continued to pay those for years and years. And in the end, hospitals have to treat the dying, coverage or not, and the government will get stuck with the bill like they used to up until the mid 1960s. When my Uncle died in 1963 his executor was hounded for years there was no money just medical bills....just make sure your estate has been reduced to nil when you pass. You can not get water out of a stone. I suspect this ill man paid about $20K in tax yearly on his various pensions.
 

Pusser

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The first question that comes to mind is that if the hospital can afford to waive $61K in fees, then perhaps their fees were too high in the first place?  This is not dissimilar to cell phone roaming charges we hear about from time to time where people rack up huge bills in foreign countries while using their Canadian cell phones.  If the cell phone providers can afford to waive the charges (as they often due once the story hits the papers), then perhaps the charges were too high to begin with.

Personally, I think this is a case of milking the "Veteran Card."  Would the same thing have happened to a dying retired farmer who simply chose to retire to Florida?  Is this case drastically different from the "Canadians of convenience" situation (which is often admonished here and elsewhere) where folks who have few ties to Canada, but happen to hold a Canadian passport can expect to be transported out of some hell hole at the Canadian taxpayer's expense?  I don't think Canada should necessarily be on the hook for Canadians who choose to no longer live here.

Where do we draw the line?
 

The Bread Guy

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Pusser said:
Would the same thing have happened to a dying retired farmer who simply chose to retire to Florida?
I think that would depend on what other insurance or source of fee-paying income said farmer had ....
 

Pusser

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milnews.ca said:
I think that would depend on what other insurance or source of fee-paying income said farmer had ....

Oh, the same as our veteran friend:  ignore the rules, don't plan ahead and risk it...

My point is, that if you decide to ski out of bounds, be prepared for the consequences and don't complain when things go awry.  Veterans deserve thanks, respect, recognition and treatment/compensation for injuries and illnesses incurred as a result of their service.  They don't necessarily deserve special priviledges beyond those of other folks, who have also contributed to our society.
 
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